Quintana Roo is home to Mexico’s most beautiful and most popular beach destination. Stretching along the southern edge of the Yucatán Peninsula, the state of Quintana Roo boasts crystal-clear waters from Cancun down to Playa del Carmen, an area known to locals as the Riviera Maya. An internationally renowned getaway spot, its idyllic beaches and proximity to marine reefs and Mayan ruins add a sense of intrigue to a stay in paradise. Guests can stay in one location or take a tour of the entire Riviera. They may wish to experience the stunning beauty of Playa del Carmen or Akumal (meaning the place of the turtles), or they can venture down to Sian Ka’an, a biosphere reserve in Tulum—just one of many UNESCO World Heritage sites on the Yucatán. Mexico’s rich and electrifying history permeates through the seaside towns. Travelers can head a few hours inland to explore some of the most well-known Mayan ruins, such as Chichen Itza and other ancient cities.
The tastes of Mexico
True Mexican cuisine goes beyond chips and guacamole, although one can’t go wrong with the classics. In the Yucatán Peninsula, the food is influenced by its Mayan roots and includes corn and achiote paste (a blend of annatto, oregano, cumin, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, garlic, and salt). Coastal Caribbean flavors are also prevalent, such as tamarind, coconut, and seafood, and have inspired dishes like Tikin-xic, a beloved grilled fish plate. No matter what type of Mexican fare travelers crave, their taste buds are sure to want more.
The sights of Quintana Roo
Sparkling beaches, fruity cocktails, and well-manicured golf courses are par for the course in Riviera Maya, but the natural wonders make this a destination for travelers seeking something more distinct.Out in the Caribbean, deep in the crystal clear waters, exists a rich wilderness called the Mesoamerican Reef. Extending nearly 700 miles from the Yucatán toward Honduras, it is the largest reef in the Atlantic and the third largest in the world behind Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Apo Reef in the Philippines. An ecological treasure, the reef is home to a vast array of species—including fish, turtles, and sharks—in search of food and shelter among the coral. Snorkelers and divers must strike a delicate balance between helping to preserve the fragile environment and marveling at its beauty. Back on the mainland, the historic ruins of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula are visible at every corner. Closer to Playa Paraíso are the ancient Mayan ruins of Xelhá, a pre-Colombian archeological site whose name means “spring water,” and Xcaret, an ancient trading port for the Mayans. Even further inland is the largest and one of the best-known Mayan cities, Chichen Itza, which rose to power around 600 AD. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Chichen Itza is a mystical city with a rich and diverse population, where travelers can tour nearly two square miles of ruins to learn about the beginnings of modern civilization in the Americas.
The luxuries of Playa Paraíso
Just 12 miles north of the popular Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya sits an exclusive stretch of sand where guests of Iberostar Grand Paraíso can get a tranquil piece of paradise. Travelers enjoy the best of both worlds, as they lounge on secluded beaches with access to the area’s best attractions.
The best time to go
Ideal conditions for the perfect getaway are between the months of November and February, which are the driest. It is, however, in the tropics which provides almost endless warmth and sunshine throughout the year.